Shanxi-based pharmaceutical preparation company Zhendong Group is furthering its poverty alleviation effortsby setting up a plantation basefor traditional Chinese medicine plants in Pingshun County, Shanxi province.
The gas-station-turned-medical group has not only invested in the region but also signed several deals that ensure a minimum selling price for the farmers cultivating medicinal plants.
Pingshun, a national levelpoverty-stricken county, is home to 262 villages of which 230 are impoverished due to their remoteness in the deep mountainous region. However, the large altitude gap of between 300 meters and 1800 meters in the region gives the area a natural advantage in cultivating TCM plants.
Zhendong's plantation base encompasses 33560 hectares of herb plantations and 6000O square meters of storage. It also employs more than300 farmers, whose annualincome increased about 12000 yuan.
By the end of2016, there were more than 20000 farming households planting traditional Chinese medicine materials in the region, with a total revenue of 216 million yuan.
Buoyed by the efforts of the plantation base,Pingshun County plans to increase its herb plantation to 40000 hectares this year and achieve a total production value of about 600 million yuan.
According to county officials, the local economy has improved by leaps and bounds due to the targeted poverty alleviation campaign.
Starting from 2013, China has launched targeted measures for poverty alleviation.The country vowed to make determined steps to eliminate poverty at the just-concluded 13th National People's Congress session.
"Till now,we have made great achievements ub tge first phase of targeted poverty alleviation,"said Yao Guanghui,an expert from the State Council Leading Group Office of Poferty Alleviation and Development.
"For poverty alleviation actions that are targeted at farmers, we encourage cooperation with local companies for better branding of farm products. We also encourage a systematic training system that provides more guidance in planting and selling for farmers, "Yao said.
Founded in 1993, Zhendong Group started as a gas station and later developed into a chain of businesses spanning fields like healthcare, agriculture, and travel with 32 subsidiaries and over 50OO employees.
"We feel obliged to offer financial support to not just my home city, but also to the whole society and people in need", said Li Anping, founder and president of ZhendongGroup.
The group set up a commission dedicated to poverty alleviation in the 199Os.
Until now, Zhendong Group has made donations of over 300 million yuan and provided support in infrastructure, medicine and education and during natural disasters.
Since its inception, Zhendong has invested about 3.5 million yuan for infrastructure construction like bituminous roads at Li's home village in Changzhi County. It has also invested about 60000O yuan on power grids that provide electricity to over 1200 families.
The group also offered timely aid when the country faced natural disasters. During the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake,Zhendong was among the first to send a relief team to provide assistance.
During the Yushu earthquake in 2010, Zhendong Group donated medical care products worth over 5 million yuan.The same was the case during the 2013 earthquake in Ya'an, Sichuan, for which the group donated medical carein products worth 5.25 million yuan.
In addition,the group invested 5 million yuan for ahealthcare center in Changzhi country, Shanxi province, and set up a 3.1 million yuan recreational center for the aged in the region.